France Agrees To Kick File Sharers Off The Internet Again; Lobbyists Call It 'Consumer Relief'

from the up-is-down,-black-is-white,-you-said-what-now? dept

There isn’t a huge surprise in the news that France has once again passed a law to force ISPs to kick accused (not convicted) file sharers off the internet under a draconian “three strikes” system. We all knew this was coming. After the original French three strikes law was gutted as being totally unconstitutional, French President Nicolas Sarkozy (who apparently doesn’t believe any such law should apply to him, given his history of mass piracy) insisted that such a law was necessary to defend freedom. Yes, really. And, even as France’s cultural minister was planning to get multiple internet connections just in case he got cut off — while also wishing that his own creative content were “pirated” more often, the French gov’t went back to work on putting in place such a law. The big “change” this time was to give judges 5 whole minutes to rule on file sharers, so that they could say a judge oversaw the case, rather than it just being a random accusation. I’m not sure how due process works with a 5 minute limit… but what can you do.

What’s much more entertaining is seeing how entertainment industry lobbyists are cheering this on. I’m beginning to think that they actually believe that kicking people off the internet will make people buy more of their content. Incredible. First up, the MPAA’s Dan Glickman (who’s being pushed out of his job for being woefully ineffective):

“Today’s decision is an enormous victory for creators everywhere. It is our hope that ISPs will fully honor their promise to cooperate and that the French government will take the necessary measures to dedicate resources to handle the enormous task ahead.”

A victory for creators? Really? By kicking fans off the internet for promoting their works? Yikes. Someone’s out of touch. Then we have Rick Cotton, of NBC Universal, the man who insisted that movie piracy was really harming the poor American corn farmer since people ate less popcorn with pirated movies:

“The French action recognizes that jobs and economic growth in creative industries are under assault by digital theft. We need a safe and secure Internet that enables consumers to access content easily but does not facilitate illegal file sharing that kills jobs in creative sectors.”

Yes, and the corn farmers, too, right? So, if it’s really all about jobs, what about the people kicked offline who rely on the internet for their job? Apparently those jobs don’t matter? In the meantime, it’s already pretty clear from multiple studies that it’s not file sharing that’s “killing jobs in creative sectors” but the inability of executives like Cotton to understand basic economics and business models.

But, honestly, the most guffaw-inducing response to this comes from Tom Sydnor at the Progress & Freedom Foundation. Sydnor, who as you may know, has a long history of making claims that don’t pass the laugh test, has really outdone himself this time (it’s even better than when he accused a college that couldn’t identify accused file sharers of harboring “terrorists, pedophiles, phishing-scheme operators, hackers [and] identity thieves” by giving them a “get out of jail free” card). So what’s his take on kicking people off the internet based on accusations? Well, it’s really about consumer relief. No, seriously:

“As a consumer, I would far prefer the successive warnings that French law would now provide to the sudden financial devastation of the John-Doe lawsuit that American law would now require. I thus urge American internet-service providers and copyright owners to work together to provide American consumers with similar relief.”

Ah, yes, because the only options are to sue everyone or to kick people off the internet? Apparently Tom has such incredibly little faith in the innovation ability of content providers that he assumes that they cannot craft unique and innovative business models that don’t involve suing everyone or kicking people off the internet. How insulting of him towards content creators. Every time Sydnor makes a statement like this and PFF promotes it, it just weakens the work that PFF does in other areas. It’s tough to take an organization seriously that has someone claiming that kicking people off the internet based on accusations of private companies is “consumer relief.”

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Companies: mpaa, nbc universal, pff

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Comments on “France Agrees To Kick File Sharers Off The Internet Again; Lobbyists Call It 'Consumer Relief'”

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56 Comments
Hephaestus (profile) says:

Re: France

Actually the EU will nix this in short order …. I just wish they wouldnt. I want to see a couple horror stories come out of this first.

Today in the News …. “With their internet connection wrongly shut down under frances 3 strikes laws, the VOIP Telephone they relied upon to call for assistance was not working.” …. mr/ms/mrs xxxxx …..

… died of a heart attack …
… was raped and killed ….
… couldnt call for assistance as the school burned down ..

… Insert your own horror story here …

Anonymous Cowpatty says:

Poetic justice ??

Please note that the following is copyrighted under the CC no-attribution license (which doesn’t exist): It seems to me that every French internet user who objects to this woefully one-sided and anti-consumer policy should immediately begin alleging copyright infringement by each and every politician who supported the law. Perhaps they might include each and every state and local department of Government as alleged copyright infringers.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Mr. Sydnor made a comment in which he makes nary a mention of techdirt and its principals.

What does that have to do with anything? I didn’t say he did.

To take his comment, which is based upon legal procedures (e.g., “Doe” complaints), and turn it into nothing more than a cheap shot at him personally is unbefitting this site.

I’m confused. How is it a cheap shot to ridicule what is obviously a ridiculous statement? This has nothing to do with “consumer relief” and anyone who is even close to intellectually honest has to admit that.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

“e.g., “Doe” complaints)”

at least he tacitly admits that lobbyists and governments aren’t here to serve the will of the people and that the laws he supports aren’t meant to serve the people but they’re meant to serve the rich and the powerful at public expense. He (and you) implies that the average John Doe shouldn’t haven’t a voice in the matter because only big corporations should have a say since they’re the only ones that should be represented and for someone else besides big lobbyists to have a voice is “unbefitting.” and then they have the nerve to call this “Consumer Relief” when consumer anytime consumers complain it’s “unbefitting.” How is that consumer relief yet alone representative of consumers.

I just don’t see how you can live with yourselves. Do you have some brain disorder that completely obliterates any sense of morality that people should have?

Fentex says:

Likely outcome

I suspect any judge worth their salary will automatically deny the requests – afterall, in five minutes they can’t deliver a properly deliberated decision.

Although France does have a different approach to law enforcement. Unlike the Anglo-Saxon antagonistic system of competing argument (in which five minutes would never deliver due process) the French employ an investigative system of the prosecutor seeking the facts which it is possible a Judge may find five minutes long enough to satisfy them – if they’re happy to take a complainants ‘facts’ on face value.

Christopher says:

Someone needs to remind the french that an IP address

IS NOT PERSONALLY IDENTIFIABLE!

“What?” the MPAA and RIAA are blustering right now….. “Of course it is!”
Nope, not with things such as wireless routers, shared access points in families and dorms, etc.

This law should be thrown out by the first judge who sees it as unenforceable.

Mectron says:

Sad day for the planet

France, as a country, as lost all credibility. It just prove to the world is it is just the newest branch of the most dangerous international criminals cartel in the world: The MPAA/RIAA.

it is now time for the French to do another revolution, to throw out their openly CRIMINAL goverment who just handed their country to the most dangerous TERRORIST organisation on the planet: RIAA/MPAA/. Forget North Korea or Iran the real enemi is the MPAA/RIAA, they need to be stop all cost.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Somewhere around the time when human evolution, alledgedly, reached the stage where it, apparently, became physically possible to consume a collection of related sound waves which is described as ‘music’. Although, personally, I’ve never actually consumed any ‘music’. Every time I’ve tried, the medium always remained whole afterwards. Damn thing just persists. I don’t actually mind, since I just use it again which saves me money in the end. Besides, CD’s just don’t taste good, no matter which way you cook them.

But at times I really feel that I am missing out on some hybrid audio/culinary delight that everyone else is engaging in. Even though I’ve never seen anyone at work bring a container of mp3’s for lunch.

Anonymous Coward says:

it is now time for the French to do another revolution, to throw out their openly CRIMINAL goverment who just handed their country to the most dangerous TERRORIST organisation on the planet: RIAA/MPAA/. Forget North Korea or Iran the real enemi is the MPAA/RIAA, they need to be stop all cost.

My hyperbole detector won’t stop exploding.

Anonymous Coward says:

“Lobbyists Call It ‘Consumer Relief'”
“Lobbyists Call It ‘Consumer Relief'”
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“Lobbyists Call It ‘Consumer Relief'”
“Lobbyists Call It ‘Consumer Relief'”
“Lobbyists Call It ‘Consumer Relief'”
“Lobbyists Call It ‘Consumer Relief'”
“Lobbyists Call It ‘Consumer Relief'”
“Lobbyists Call It ‘Consumer Relief'”
“Lobbyists Call It ‘Consumer Relief'”
“Lobbyists Call It ‘Consumer Relief'”

lyndam (profile) says:

France & file sharing

How do they know you (or I) may be file sharing?
If it relies on the ISP, in whose interest is it for them to notice? They would certainly be acting against their own interest to the tune of about 360 Euros per anum per pop. Virtually all of that will come off the profit side of the books. A few token cases to the guillotine and that’s it, again.
As for the judges, French law generates huge piles of paper and French lawyers can make their Xs at a phenominal rate and like most lawyers, but more so, have little interest in right and wrong, only the law. God can’t liturgate.

Miguel Moura (profile) says:

I have kind of a philosophical view on this:

When i was looking for my first job after getting my degree, a couple of years ago, I didn’t have any money and my internet and cable “provider” (my brother, who paid the bills) moved out with his girlfriend, so no Internet and no cable for me… I became totally independent from “big” entertainment and Internet “futilities”, and actually had a good time playing guitar, reading books, going to concerts (much better than MP3’s) enjoying the outdoors, riding my bike and all sort of human activities. Eventually i got a job but had other uses for the money (rent, motorcycle, etc), and after that year and a half i never went back to high speed internet (a 3g connection is more than enough to get emails and browse Techdirt, or update your site and watch Youtube clips), never got cable TV (i barely watch any kind of TV anyway) and never been happier.

I think the entertainment industry has no clue on how much things will backfire if they remove the fix internet addicts are getting – i believe most people when disconnected from the virtual reality we constructed, will discover there’s life beyond bits and bytes and gratuitous entertainment and will stop watching or listening to 90% of the garbage out there and sales will really suffer…

They’re bitting themselves… not very smart

Anonymous Coward says:

“After the original French three strikes law was gutted as being totally unconstitutional, French President Nicolas Sarkozy (who apparently doesn’t believe any such law should apply to him, given his history of mass piracy)”

I’m sure that the ones lobbying for and passing these laws are also break these laws just as well. The laws do not apply to the elite, they only apply to the enslaved.

Tom Sydnor (user link) says:

Wrong again, Mike

Well, thanks for another dose of the shrill, biased shrieking that I have come to expect from TechDirt. To be clear, I am not a “lobbyist,” no matter how effective Masnick thinks that label might be in demonizing those who disagree with him.

Meanwhile, let’s see some of that Deep Thought in action, Mike. How about a post on this:

http://blog.pff.org/archives/2009/10/copyright_wars_welfare_for_authors_and_child_porno.html

Your name is on the jacket. Maybe you have something to say?

–Tom

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Wrong again, Mike

From your link

“Ensuring that these remarkable achievements continue is what makes the often miserable task of defending copyrights on the Internet worthwhile. “

The problem is that you assume that intellectual is needed to ensure that these things continue. This isn’t true, there is plenty of free creative works released under licenses (ie: the creative commons license or GPL) that are specifically designed to limit the effects of intellectual property. Plus intellectual property might even get in the way of some of these creative works limiting their creativity.

“Certain basic realities must be acknowledged before reasoned debate about copyrights and the Internet can begin. Copyright Wars denies one of them: the remarkable creativity and innovation that have made American creative artists and American creative industries world-leading producers of a vast array of expressive works–from books and print journalism to movies, music, and entertainment and application software.”

and lets not forget that Hollywood advanced much of itself through ignoring intellectual property and piracy ( http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/12.03/lessig.html and http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20090526/1159125014.shtml ). Hollywood was basically built on piracy. It was exactly the less restrictive intellectual property laws that fostered innovation and creativity in America. In more recent years though intellectual property has become more restrictive (ie: it now lasts MUCH longer than it used to) which has only hurt the situation.

“Your name is on the jacket. Maybe you have something to say?”

It’s not that we can’t respond to your nonsense arguments, it’s that we’ve addressed them so many times we’re sick of constantly addressing them.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Wrong again, Mike

another dose of the shrill, biased shrieking

Tom, what was shrill or shrieking? I laid out a clear argument. I know you disagree with it, but that does not make it shrill nor shrieking.

To be clear, I am not a “lobbyist,”

Apologies for the “lobbyist” label, then. Given your positions you take and your efforts to influence the gov’t on these things, you could have fooled me.

Meanwhile, let’s see some of that Deep Thought in action, Mike. How about a post on this:

Tom, given your history of taking nearly everything said *completely* out of context, that entire post was laughable in the extreme.

In the meantime, I’ll note that you have not responded to the actual points raised debunking your ridiculous claim that this is “consumer relief” to kick people off the internet.

Wonder why?

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Wrong again, Mike

I read it and did not find it “laughable in the extreme”.

Have you read Patry’s book yet? Last time we discussed this, you had not.

Sydnor does the same thing he did in his discussion on Lessig. He writes a long polemic that very carefully selectively quotes Patry out of context. Notice carefully how he quotes him — often in snippets from multiple sections of the book, to paint a picture of what he said that has nothing to do with what he actually said.

It’s classic Sydnor. He has been called on this multiple times — in great detail.

Examples:

http://arstechnica.com/old/content/2008/04/is-lessigs-free-culture-just-a-modern-das-kopyright.ars

http://techliberation.com/2008/04/30/selective-quotation-in-the-snydor-paper/

http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20080429/025558976.shtml

In those three separate pieces, people pieced back together the quotes that Sydnor used, and showed how out of context everyone of them was. Often he used the quotes to suggest meaning that was 180 degrees of what Lessig said.

I have neither the time nor inclination to waste the time to go through Patry’s book and reconstruct Sydnor’s false quotations again.

By the way, I must note, again, how incredibly *odd* I find it that when you comment on blogs like Sydnor’s and Ben Sheffner’s that you *suddenly* and amazingly are able to end your comments with your first initial and your last name.

And yet, despite a prior promise to do the same here, you do not… I wonder, again, why that is. Clearly it is not because of your inability to set cookies properly, as you have claimed in the past, since it appears that you merely typed your name at the end. I am unaware of any cookie problem that prevents that here.

Anyway, as for Sydnor, among policy circles he has become a laughingstock. Even people who do not side with Lessig on these sorts of things, I have heard multiple times that the attack on Lessig was so over the top, so ridiculous and so misguided that no one takes Sydnor seriously any more. He is viewed not even as a mouthpiece of the copyright industry (as his predecessor, Patrick Ross, was) but as someone who presents the even MORE EXTREME position to make the copyright industry’s position *appear* more middle of the road.

Anonymous Coward says:

I use my name on those and other sites devoted to discussions of legal issues. When I discuss a matter with a colleague I think it only right and proper to use my name. On those occassions where we may happen to disagree, we do so respectfully and cordially.

Having followed many of the discussions on this site, I am disappointed that here the rules of respect and cordiality are oftentimes tossed aside. Were it otherwise I would likely be inclined to use my name.

Moreover, you are obviously aware that the majority of comments I may choose to make are directed to you specifically. Since you are readily able to determine my identity whenever I make such a comment (presumably because of my IP address), it seems an unnecessary effort to identify myself on each such occassion.

You may recall that at least one time in the past I posted my name, email address and telephone number so that you could, if you wished, contact me offline at any time. My offer still holds. I say this simply because comments on a blog do not in my view admit to detailed discussions of complex issues. It is in my view far too easy when sitting at a keyboard for persons to talk past, and not to, each other.

As for Mr. Sydnor, perhaps some may be put off by his approach and discount his message. Personally, I am much more interested in the contents of a message and loathe to shoot the messenger. To do otherwise is to miss an opportunity to learn.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re:

As for Mr. Sydnor, perhaps some may be put off by his approach and discount his message. Personally, I am much more interested in the contents of a message and loathe to shoot the messenger. To do otherwise is to miss an opportunity to learn.

Did you not read my critique of his message? I am not “shooting the messenger.” His message is simply wrong. He makes it up by cutting and pasting things totally out of context.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

This is, I believe, the totality of what Mr. Sydnor stated regarding the proposal in France:

“This is another step forward for common sense and the rule of law on the Internet.”“In America today, if a caregiver for my children used one of my home computers for illegal file-sharing, copyright owners would have to file a federal lawsuit and spend thousands of dollars—which they would then have to recover from me—just to alert me to the problem.”

“As a consumer, I would far prefer the successive warnings that French law would now provide to the sudden financial devastation of the John-Doe lawsuit that American law would now require. I thus urge American internet-service providers and copyright owners to work together to provide American consumers with similar relief.”

My personal views aside, I am not prepared to dismiss his statement out of hand simply because in the context of how our system of laws operates there is a measure of validity to what he says. Absent ISP cooperation, rights holders who wish to enforce their rights are left with little choice other than resort to the legal process.

While you may disagree with his endorsement of a “graduated response” approach, there is merit to his personal view that he would rather find out about a problem via an ISP communication than a process server ringing his doorbell.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

I was responding to the message in his post attacking Patry’s book. That is what we were discussing in this particular thread.

As for the comments he made concerning the plan in France, I thought I made my point clear in my initial post, but let me reiterate: he is simply wrong that this is any form of “consumer relief.” You do not “relieve” consumers by kicking them off the internet without due process.

Your claim that rights holders have no other options is also wrong. They have many options, such as putting in place smarter business models. Any plan relying on doing harm to your customers is suicidal. It is not “consumer relief.”

While you may disagree with his endorsement of a “graduated response” approach, there is merit to his personal view that he would rather find out about a problem via an ISP communication than a process server ringing his doorbell.

Again, as stated, this assumes those are the only options. That is incorrect.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Of course there are other options. A rights holder can simply do nothing. A rights holder can encourage P2P by viewing it in part as free advertising. A rights holder can offer content for free and rely on scare goods unique to it that give a reason for consumers to part with their money for such other goods.

But this seems to me to miss the point. Just because one may view a rights holder as cutting off his nose to spite his face be pursuing legal action, I am not prepared to say that their opinions are just plain wrong. Perhaps in many cases they are, but at the very least they are entitled to their beliefs and to act on them accordingly. After all, many are operating within a set of fixed parameters, and such parameters may very well be such that a counterintuitive approach may at that point in time reasonably be viewed as in their best intrest.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

“In America today, if a caregiver for my children used one of my home computers for illegal file-sharing, copyright owners would have to file a federal lawsuit and spend thousands of dollars—which they would then have to recover from me—just to alert me to the problem.”

He actually said that? Strictly speaking, I don’t think that’s even factually correct. They might try to recover their expenses from the victim of one of their misguided lawsuits, but they certainly don’t “have to”. And just because they try, that doesn’t mean they will be successful. To claim otherwise just seems to me to be a big lie that needs to be exposed along with those telling it.

Tom Sydnor (user link) says:

Mike, stop running and dissembling

Mike, your pathetic refusal to accept the fact that your digital God Larry Lessig has said some stupid things will continue to do you–and others–harm. I have responded to the alleged “misrepresentations” that you perceive in my Lessig paper many times, while you sat quivering in silence. Here are the two major refutations, in order of degree of detail:

http://blog.pff.org/archives/2009/08/copyright-skeptic_hypocrisy_a_belated_reply.html#more

http://weblog.ipcentral.info/archives/2008/11/techdirts_backfiring_defense_of_the_thomas_decision_and_the_effective_freedom_of_totalitarian_terror_part_ii.html

I urge anyone who thinks that Masnick has any intellectual integrity to read both. They will clarify matters. I also note that Lessig himself has now conceded that Code, The Future of Ideas, and Free Culture were an extended “apology for regulation” in which he was far too “optimistic” about the potential for government control to “do good.” Naturally, the “libertarian” Masnick never noticed.

As for why multiple warnings that someone has used one of my home computers to infringe might be preferable to a subpoena naming me as a defendant in a federal lawsuit, I see no reason to reply.

I have no doubt, Mike, that you just can’t perceive why one might be preferable to the other. So here is a thought: Why don’t you contact Jammie Thomas-Rassat or Joel Tennenbaum? Perhaps they could clear up your confusion.

But I doubt it.

Love,

–Tom

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Mike, stop running and dissembling

Mike, your pathetic refusal to accept the fact that your digital God Larry Lessig

Tom, Larry is not “my digital god.” I disagree with Larry on an awful lot of things. However, your take down of him was based on serious falsehoods which showed your true colors: someone who will lie to take down an opponent, based on who pays your salary. Despicable.

But even as I disagree with Larry on many things — including his position on copyright — that does not make him a socialist. Your writeup was based on statements completely out of context.

You did not refute any of the attempts by myself, Tim or Julian to put your words back into context. You just stomped your feet and continued to insist you must be right. The DDT thing was particularly disgusting, because you got the entire analogy wrong. Flat out wrong.

I urge anyone who thinks that Masnick has any intellectual integrity to read both.

Yes, please read Tom’s works. But make sure you actually read what myself, Tim and Julian wrote as well. Look at what Tom wrote — and make sure you put each “quote” back into context.

I urge anyone who thinks that Masnick has any intellectual integrity to read both. They will clarify matters. I also note that Lessig himself has now conceded that Code, The Future of Ideas, and Free Culture were an extended “apology for regulation” in which he was far too “optimistic” about the potential for government control to “do good.” Naturally, the “libertarian” Masnick never noticed.

First, I’m not a libertarian. Second, we all agree that Lessig was wrong with his calls for regulation. That wasn’t in dispute. What was in dispute was your ludicrous attempt to brand him as a communist by totally taking his words out of context.

As for why multiple warnings that someone has used one of my home computers to infringe might be preferable to a subpoena naming me as a defendant in a federal lawsuit, I see no reason to reply.

HA! Again, Tom, CONTEXT. I’m beginning to wonder if you even CAN read things IN CONTEXT since you always seem to get it wrong. The only way it’s “consumer relief” is if those are the only two options. And the only way those are the only two options are if our content creators are not creative at all. You can’t really mean to say that, can you, Tom? Why are you so down on our content creators’ ability to innovate?

How sad, Tom.

I have no doubt, Mike, that you just can’t perceive why one might be preferable to the other. So here is a thought: Why don’t you contact Jammie Thomas-Rassat or Joel Tennenbaum? Perhaps they could clear up your confusion.

I can, in fact, recognize why being shot in the foot is better than being shot in the head. Doesn’t mean that I would call getting shot in the foot “consumer relief.”

So why do you do so?

Tom?

Anonymous Coward says:

“Lobbyists Call It ‘Consumer Relief'”
“Lobbyists Call It ‘Consumer Relief'”
“Lobbyists Call It ‘Consumer Relief'”
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“Lobbyists Call It ‘Consumer Relief'”
“Lobbyists Call It ‘Consumer Relief'”
“Lobbyists Call It ‘Consumer Relief'”
“Lobbyists Call It ‘Consumer Relief'”
“Lobbyists Call It ‘Consumer Relief'”
“Lobbyists Call It ‘Consumer Relief'”
“Lobbyists Call It ‘Consumer Relief'”
“Lobbyists Call It ‘Consumer Relief'”
“Lobbyists Call It ‘Consumer Relief'”
“Lobbyists Call It ‘Consumer Relief'”
“Lobbyists Call It ‘Consumer Relief'”
“Lobbyists Call It ‘Consumer Relief'”
“Lobbyists Call It ‘Consumer Relief'”

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